Deciphering African tropical forest dynamics in the Anthropocene:how social and historical sciences can elucidate forest research and management

Walters, Gretchen and Fraser, James and Picard, Nicholas and Hymas, Oliver and Fairhead, James (2019) Deciphering African tropical forest dynamics in the Anthropocene:how social and historical sciences can elucidate forest research and management. Anthropocene, 27. ISSN 2213-3054

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Abstract

Forests bear the historical legacies of human activities over thousands of years, including agriculture, trade, disease and resource extraction. Many of these activities may represent indices of the proposed geological epoch of the Anthropocene. Modifications to soil, topography and vegetation evidence anthropogenic influences. Yet studies of vegetation change throughout the humid tropics tend to occlude these by focusing on forest dynamics, timber, and biodiversity through permanent sample plots or forestry inventory plots. We highlight how history and social science can be combined with ecology to help better understand human signatures in forest dynamics. We (1) critically review ecological methods in the light of the environmental and social history of the Afrotropics; (2) map current plot networks for West and Central Africa in relation to the Human Footprint Index; (3) using two case studies, demonstrate how history and social science bring new insights and inferences to plot-based studies; all leading to (4) novel forms of interdisciplinary collaboration for sustainable forest conservation, management and restoration.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Anthropocene
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Anthropocene. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Anthropocene, 27, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2019.100214
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2303
Subjects:
ID Code:
135103
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
16 Jul 2019 13:45
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
24 Nov 2020 07:39